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College Internships: The Missing Link

 

For decades students have been told that the natural progression of life is to go to college, get a degree and get a job. Little else was offered as far as direction goes, and so the student’s transition from college kid to working man was often times the toughest wall that they never knew they had to climb.

It’s not just getting a job that poses a problem fresh out of college, its actually knowing that you are going to like the field you go into. I had trouble with this myself, realizing two weeks before I graduated with a degree in film, that…I hated working in film. At that point, the realization upended my life, and I spent the next two years trying to find where I fit.

We have to realize that today’s world is different, and jobs these days are in reality not jobs at all, they’re specialties. And when we’re going to school, trying to lay down a foundation for the rest of our lives, we must take every advantage we have.

That’s where the good news comes in. Schools, especially proactive ones like College of the Canyons, have caught on to this problem, and have extensive job training programs that not only put you ahead of the average, but they offer school credit towards your degree.

CWEE, or Cooperative Work Experience Education is an answer for those looking for a bridge from college to work. Stan Wright, Director of Internship Programs at COC, says that these programs help students reach the most important of their goals.

He quoted an American Association of Community Colleges National Survey of 200,000 students that concluded student’s top goals are: Self Reliance, to have a steady and secure job, and to make a lot of money.

Let’s see how that stacks up to information on internships.

One survey says that 58% of students who served internships were offered full time employment with their internship employers. That should bode well for the “Steady and Secure Job” goal.

Also, nearly half of employers surveyed said that they offer higher starting salaries to graduates with internship or co-op education experience. Put a check next to the “More Money” goal.

And according to Wright, sometimes, even a bad experience in workplace education can be a good one.
“Someone might want to major in Accounting, so we set them up to intern in the workplace and when they really see what the job entails, they may find that it’s not their ideal career. Only now, they haven’t spent years studying it.”

Which takes us to self reliance:  interning allows kids to have an educated plan of action from a very early time in their academic careers. This in turn will help them streamline college, get the most out of it, and move quickly to their careers.

And a one or two year difference in a job means a lot. As years go by, demands of the workplace often times force people into a quagmire; juggling everything else that comes with adulthood. By getting into a job sooner, you are more likely to move up quicker, and be able to support yourself. Currently, over 300 internships are available at COC, all for course credit. A large amount of them are even paid, which means technically, you can earn money, go to school and further your career all in one place and time.

With so many children now taking college coursed while still in high school, why wouldn’t they take career training while still in college.

“This is really one of the very few things in life that is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Wright.
Wright told me “Internships are where theory meets reality.” What reality, is up to you.

For more information on COC’s internship programs, go to www.canyons.edu/offices/cwee

Jon Dell
KHTS AM 1220 News
12-15-05

College Internships: The Missing Link

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